Seamless, said someone in the audience last week, when talking to Eoin Colfer about his new Hitchhiker novel. And she’s right. After a year of Eoin saying he wasn’t going to try and be Douglas Adams, he has got much closer than you’d imagine possible. And that’s good. Seamless means that we don’t really notice the change from one writer to another. I’ve read other sequels where the style is very different, and with good reason. You can’t be someone else.
I feel that Eoin could be some kind of honorary little brother of Douglas’s. Like most others, I found And Another Thing to be more Hitchhikery than I’d thought possible. It’s very enjoyable. Someone said he’d not laughed reading this one, unlike with the other five Hitchhiker books. I agree to some extent, but wonder if that’s because we are not only older now, but the concept is less new and we have come to expect certain things, so don’t laugh out loud. But I could be wrong.
It’s good that Eoin didn’t seek to write this book. I think you do a better job when a little reluctant. So I was surprised at the Guardian reviewer’s comment that Douglas’s family allowed Eoin to write this sequel. They asked him to! There is a big difference.
To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t totally remember how we left Arthur and Co in book five. It’s been a while. But it was easy to get back into the flow, and it’s good that Eoin came up with his own plot, rather than use the notes Douglas left. I daresay we wouldn’t have had an Irish character without an Irish author, so Hillman Hunter is a fun invention.
The use of Norse Gods is also good. Would quite like people to settle on the spelling of Leif, however. I like it correct, and I don’t want both spellings competing with each other. And is it just my background, or is there some deeper meaning in Thor’s appearance and the fact that Arthur has some dislike for Thursdays?
Random Dent is quite lovely, really, particularly given the weird adults she’s surrounded by. Zaphod is better with the one head, but still stupid. Nice to see Trillian finding love. And I suspected Fenchurch would turn up, somehow.
Eoin hasn’t written a definitive ending, just really carried the story on a little. He’s left it so that we can stop here, or his idea of other relay authors taking over would be a feasible project. I would like to see poor Arthur sorted. He’s really a most unfortunate man. At least he’s getting used to his bad luck.
And there is something almost loveable about Vogons.